Resilience pays off as ‘blessed’ Mariners academy product signs first pro deal: ‘Special club’

Central Coast Mariners academy product Sasha Kuzevski has signed his first professional contract with the Isuzu UTE A-League champions after overcoming a serious knee injury.

Gosford local Kuzevski has been upgraded to an A-Leagues contract for the upcoming season following an injury-ravaged 2023-24.

The 23-year-old had endured a gruelling recovery following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury before making his long-awaited return via NPLM NSW this month.

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Kuzevski, who first joined the Mariners aged 12, has made eight A-Leagues appearances for Central Coast after his debut in December 2022.

“I feel very blessed and grateful to be able to extend my stay at the Mariners, this is a special place and a special club,” he said.

“I want to thank both Jacko and Simmo for showing their trust and belief in me, after what has been a challenging 12 months on a personal level.

“I also want to thank the medical staff for their expertise during my rehab. I am feeling fitter and stronger than ever before, and I am extremely excited to learn and grow under the guidance of both Jacko and Danny. I can’t wait to be back out there for season 24-25.”

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Kuzevski’s promotion adds to the arrival of Lucas Mauragis and Haine Eames (scholarship contract), while Harrison Steele (2026-27) and Mikael Doka (2026-27) have re-signed.

However, Johnny Warren Medallist Josh Nisbet departed on Tuesday, joining Ronald Barcellos (end of loan), Jing Reec (end of loan)Dan Hall, Max Balard and Danny Vukovic (retired) in leaving the treble winners.

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“We are happy to announce that we’ve agreed to extend Sasha’s contract,” Jackson said.

“He’s a player that has shown tremendous resilience to come through the injury he had last year. I saw that he worked really hard to get back fit and he’s proven in the NPL games that he is a player that we want to work with and give the opportunity to kickstart his career.

“He’s a young player with potential and he had bad luck with injury, but he has come through that now so we’re looking forward to working with him as part of the A-League squad for the 24-25 season.”